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Denée Reaves’s Blog

Latin America Green News: Chile considers desalination, Costa Rica studies forests, Mexico hosts environment ministers, and Germany supports conservation in Central America

Denée Reaves

Posted March 14, 2014

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Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America.

March 9th-15th, 2014

Chile

The Institute of Ecological Policy and the Private Corporation for the Development of Aysén will launch the first solar collective in Chile’s Aysén region on Saturday March 15. The goal of the cooperative is to encourage citizens to take advantage of the sun’s resource to generate their own energy supply, to improve energy literacy and local energy sovereignty. Energy efficiency, net-metering and wood-burning are other issues the cooperative will address, in addition to solar energy. (El Dínamo 3/12/2014)

Spanish experts are helping to determine the best places in the Coquimbo region for the construction of desalination plants, which process ocean water into water that humans can consume and use for other productive activities such as irrigation. Public and private actors in the area have defined the northern region’s scarcity of water as an important issue to address. On March 12, officials launched a study that will compare the possibility of building a desalination plant on the coast versus using wastewater from Coquimbo and La Serena. Both options consider processing 1000 liters per second, and officials say that over time it could be viable to use both options together. More than 60 countries in the world use desalination technology to help meet their water needs. (El Día 3/13/2014)

Costa Rica

Scientists from Italy’s University of Tuscia will travel to Costa Rica to study the flow of carbon from forests to the atmosphere to determine if this natural flow is affected by climate change. Their research will be carried out in the Karen Mogensen Biological Reserve, a secondary growth forest re-established using native trees. (La Nación 3/12/2014)

Next week Costa Rica will host the IV Mesoamerican Congress on Protected Areas. More than 800 experts from Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic are expected to attend to discuss protected areas management and identify opportunities for potential collaboration. The congress symposiums will cover issues including governance, territorial zoning, climate change, and financing. (La Nación 3/10/2014)

Mexico

The Ministry of Urbanism and Environment and the national forest conservation group, Reforestamos México, have signed an agreement with the purpose of conserving and protecting forests and other natural resources in the Michoacán region.  The agreement, which is in accordance with the Comprehensive Development Plan of the State of Michoacán, promises to reforest protected areas, and better manage already forested areas to ensure they are preserved. (Mi Morelia 3/13/2014)

Thanks to the 39 MW Aura Solar project, Mexico is now ranked 19th out of the 20 top countries with large solar parks. Aura Solar, built by Gauss Energía is located in Baja California Sur and has been operating since last September, providing 100 percent of its energy to the Federal Electricity Commission. The power generated by the project is enough to meet the demand of 65 percent of the population of La Paz, and reduces emissions by 65,000 tons annually. Gauss Energía has 20 other parks set to be constructed once the subsidiary legislation for the new energy reform is completed. (El Financiero 3/11/14)

Climate change, biodiversity, waste, and chemical substance management were the key themes under discussion during the 19th Forum of Environment Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean, held this week in Los Cabos, Mexico. Ministers and specialists from 31 countries participated in the forum, in addition to experts from the UN Environment Programme, Inter-American Development Bank, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Panamerican Health Organization, Andean Development Corporation and civil society  (Crónica 3/12/2014)

Regional 

Germany has pledged to contribute 28.29 million dollars in financial and technical aid to three conservation programs in Central America’s Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. The first project will focus on integrating the private sector into biodiversity conservation by identifying financing mechanisms and criteria for public-private alliances. The two other projects will focus on strengthening local institutional and technical capacities, particularly in Honduras and Nicaragua, to halt deforestation and reduce poverty. (CR Hoy 3/11/2014)

For more news on the issues we care about visit our Latin America Green News archive or read our other International blogs

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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